26 “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. 27 What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.29 Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.30 Even all the hairs of your head are counted.31 So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.32 Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.33 But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” (Mt 10:26-33)
Depending on when Easter is celebrated in any a given year, certain readings from Matthew’s gospel may or may not be proclaimed. In 2020, the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time was celebrated on February 23rd. The following Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and our Sunday readings were then taken from the Lenten Season. Lent gave way to the Easter Season and its assigned readings. After the Easter Season, we would begin the Ordinary Time readings again… except there are three solemnities: Pentecost, Holy Trinity, and Corpus Christi. Consequently, Ordinary Time readings begin anew with the 12th Sunday. Here is a quick overview and context.
- 8th Sunday (Matthew 6:24–34) – This passage can be understood as an interweaving of commands against anxiety and materialism with commands to believe that God will meet one’s material needs. Given the recurring theme of daily sustenance throughout all of this chapter of Matthew (6:8b, 11, 25, 31) one easily recalls the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us today our daily bread” (v.11)
- 9th Sunday (Matthew 7:21-27) – The end of the Sermon on the Mount and its discourse on the deeper, fuller meaning of the Law and righteousness, Jesus says to the disciples: “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock” (Mt 7:24-25)
- 10th Sunday (Matthew 9:9-13) Mt 8:1 to 9:38 is Matthew’s description of the powerful deeds of Jesus, nine in all, interspersed between is the theme of discipleship. Mt 9:9-13 is the call of Matthew, the tax collector, to be follow Jesus as a disciple. Jesus also describes the intrinsic nature of his mission: “Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mt 9:13)
- 11th Sunday (Matthew 9:36 – 10:8) This reading is the story of sending out the disciples: “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mt 9:36)
In the gospel for this Sunday, the disciples are reminded they have the duty to proclaim the message and not to let public proclamation be the first casualty of fear. Good news is not meant to be kept under wraps, however little some people may wish to hear it. Even though for the time being Jesus’ teaching to his disciples has to be in darkness. In the coming time of witness before governors and kings and of world-wide proclamation of the Good News it must no longer be hidden. “Therefore do not be afraid of them.”